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Fire, Volume 1, Issue 1 (March 2018)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Introducing Fire: A Transdisciplinary Journal to Advance Understanding and Management of Landscape Fires from Local to Global Scales in the Past, Present, and Future
Fire 2018, 1(1), 2; doi:10.3390/fire1010002
Received: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
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Abstract
One of the many unique features of the Earth is landscape-scale fire [1].[...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle Human-Related Ignitions Increase the Number of Large Wildfires across U.S. Ecoregions
Fire 2018, 1(1), 4; doi:10.3390/fire1010004
Received: 26 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
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Abstract
Large fires account for the majority of burned area and are an important focus of fire management. However, ‘large’ is typically defined by a fire size threshold, minimizing the importance of proportionally large fires in less fire-prone ecoregions. Here, we defined ‘large fires’
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Large fires account for the majority of burned area and are an important focus of fire management. However, ‘large’ is typically defined by a fire size threshold, minimizing the importance of proportionally large fires in less fire-prone ecoregions. Here, we defined ‘large fires’ as the largest 10% of wildfires by ecoregion (n = 175,222 wildfires from 1992 to 2015) across the United States (U.S.). Across ecoregions, we compared fire size, seasonality, and environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed, fuel moisture, biomass, vegetation type) of large human- and lighting-started fires that required a suppression response. Mean large fire size varied by three orders of magnitude: from 1 to 10 ha in the Northeast vs. >1000 ha in the West. Humans ignited four times as many large fires as lightning, and were the dominant source of large fires in the eastern and western U.S. (starting 92% and 65% of fires, respectively). Humans started 80,896 large fires in seasons when lightning-ignited fires were rare. Large human-started fires occurred in locations and months of significantly higher fuel moisture and wind speed than large lightning-started fires. National-scale fire policy should consider risks to ecosystems and economies by these proportionally large fires and include human drivers in large fire risk assessment. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Some Requirements for Simulating Wildland Fire Behavior Using Insight from Coupled Weather—Wildland Fire Models
Fire 2018, 1(1), 6; doi:10.3390/fire1010006
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
A newer generation of models that interactively couple the atmosphere with fire behavior have shown an increased potential to understand and predict complex, rapidly changing fire behavior. This is possible if they capture intricate, time-varying microscale airflows in mountainous terrain and fire-atmosphere feedbacks.
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A newer generation of models that interactively couple the atmosphere with fire behavior have shown an increased potential to understand and predict complex, rapidly changing fire behavior. This is possible if they capture intricate, time-varying microscale airflows in mountainous terrain and fire-atmosphere feedbacks. However, this benefit is counterbalanced by additional limitations and requirements, many arising from the atmospheric model upon which they are built. The degree to which their potential is realized depends on how coupled models are built, configured, and applied. Because these are freely available to users with widely ranging backgrounds, I present some limitations and requirements that must be understood and addressed to achieve meaningful fire behavior simulation results. These include how numerical weather prediction models are formulated for specific scales, their solution methods and numerical approximations, optimal model configurations for common scenarios, and how these factors impact reproduction of fire events and phenomena. I discuss methods used to adjust inadequate outcomes and advise on critical interpretation of fire modeling results, such as where errors from model limitations may be misinterpreted as natural unpredictability. I discuss impacts on other weather model-based applications that affect understanding of fire behavior and effects. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessPerspective Big Fire; or, Introducing the Pyrocene
Fire 2018, 1(1), 1; doi:10.3390/fire1010001
Received: 13 October 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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Abstract
I present the case for a fire-centric scholarship, and suggest the transition between burning living landscapes and lithic ones (in the form of fossil fuels) would make a good demonstration of what such scholarship might do and what its value could be. Full article
Open AccessViewpoint Managing Fire and Biodiversity in the Wildland-Urban Interface: A Role for Green Firebreaks
Fire 2018, 1(1), 3; doi:10.3390/fire1010003
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 20 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
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Abstract
In the wildland-urban interface, the imperative is often to protect life and property from destructive fires, while also conserving biodiversity. One potential tool for achieving this goal is the use of green firebreaks: strips of low flammability species planted at strategic locations to
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In the wildland-urban interface, the imperative is often to protect life and property from destructive fires, while also conserving biodiversity. One potential tool for achieving this goal is the use of green firebreaks: strips of low flammability species planted at strategic locations to help reduce fire spread by slowing or stopping the fire front, extinguishing embers or blocking radiant heat. If comprised of native species, green firebreaks also have biodiversity benefits. Green firebreaks have been recommended for use throughout the world, including the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia. However, despite this widespread endorsement, there has been little empirical testing of green firebreaks, particularly with field experiments. This knowledge gap needs addressing. Green firebreaks should be considered as part of the revegetation strategy following recent extensive wildfires in places such as New Zealand and Chile. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective Advancing Fire Science with Large Forest Plots and a Long-Term Multidisciplinary Approach
Fire 2018, 1(1), 5; doi:10.3390/fire1010005
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
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Abstract
Large, spatially explicit forest plots have the potential to address currently understudied aspects of fire ecology and management, including the validation of physics-based fire behavior models and next-generation fire effects models. Pre-fire forest structures, fire-mediated mortality, and post-fire forest development can be examined
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Large, spatially explicit forest plots have the potential to address currently understudied aspects of fire ecology and management, including the validation of physics-based fire behavior models and next-generation fire effects models. Pre-fire forest structures, fire-mediated mortality, and post-fire forest development can be examined in a spatial context, and value can be added to current multidisciplinary approaches by adding a long-term perspective. Here we propose that the fire science community begin to build a collaborative network of fire-related large forest dynamics plots to examine explicit spatial patterns of surface fuels, tree mortality, and post-fire regeneration throughout ecosystems with frequent-fire forests. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective Sparking New Opportunities for Charcoal-Based Fire History Reconstructions
Fire 2018, 1(1), 7; doi:10.3390/fire1010007
Received: 23 December 2017 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
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Open AccessPerspective Pyro-Ecophysiology: Shifting the Paradigm of Live Wildland Fuel Research
Fire 2018, 1(1), 8; doi:10.3390/fire1010008
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
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Abstract
The most destructive wildland fires occur in mixtures of living and dead vegetation, yet very little attention has been given to the fundamental differences between factors that control their flammability. Historically, moisture content has been used to evaluate the relative flammability of live
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The most destructive wildland fires occur in mixtures of living and dead vegetation, yet very little attention has been given to the fundamental differences between factors that control their flammability. Historically, moisture content has been used to evaluate the relative flammability of live and dead fuels without considering major, unreported differences in the factors that control their variations across seasons and years. Physiological changes at both the leaf and whole plant level have the potential to explain ignition and fire behavior phenomena in live fuels that have been poorly explained for decades. Here, we explore how these physiological changes violate long-held assumptions about live fuel dynamics and we present a conceptual model that describes how plant carbon and water cycles independently and interactively influence plant flammability characteristics at both the leaf and whole plant scale. This new ecophysiology-based approach can help us expand our understanding of potential plant responses to environmental change and how those physiological changes may impact plant flammability. Furthermore, it may ultimately help us better manage wildland fires in an uncertain future. Full article
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